Denver to Brush (CO)

Denver Union Station (MP 0.0) is currently a stub-end terminal, the tracks to the south having been truncated in the 1980s, oriented with its exit to the north-northeast, with the depot on the east-southeast side, and the platforms covered with umbrella sheds—two "island" platforms with two tracks each, out of a total of five tracks, with a service platform between the second and third tracks. Coors Field is to the east of the north end of the platforms. At the station throat, where there is a road bridge overhead, with a connecting bridge parallel to the line running northwest, tracks head northeast to the UP line to Cheyenne, north-northeast, still within Yard Limits, with a 10 mph speed limit, past I-25 bridges overhead, and the BNSF locomotive depot on the east side of the tracks, across the 23rd Street crossing and connection (MP 0.8) with the BNSF tracks connecting south to the "Joint Line", with a connector in the northeast quadrant of the crossing used in turning the California Zephyr trailing in at MP 0.8, a bridge over the South Platte River (MP 0.86), to the ex-CB&Q line to Omaha, and north to the onetime Denver & Salt Lake “Moffat Route”.

The ex-CB&Q line to Omaha heads northeast, with Two Main Tracks, CTC, 30 mph speed limit from 23rd Street (now MP 541.5), past a signal bridge, across the South Platte River, whose bridge (MP 541.28) also carries a west-end yard lead, past the 31st Street Yard (MP 541.2), with its 20+ tracks on the northwest side of the line and other tracks on the southeast side, where the line reduces to single track, CTC, across the river again (MP 540.18), with extra track on both the north and south sides, past dual road bridges overhead, a connector trailing in from the south from the former Rock Island line, a connector departing to the west to the former C&S yard, and a line heading north to the Denver Stockyards, crossing above the Denver Railway belt line and past a bridge over a street, the former location of a connector from the erstwhile Rock Island at 48th Avenue (MP 539.6), a grade crossing at the yard entrance road of a yard to the southeast, a cemetery on the northwest side, a bridge over a street, a bridge over an angled junction, a road alongside to the south, a street alongside to the northwest, and a grade crossing with tracks on the north side to a refinery on the north side, and a bridge over a street, to the flat crossing with the UP Cheyenne line at UP Crossing (MP 537.3), a bridge over a divided highway, signals at 68th Avenue, and Sand Creek (MP 536.9), where the speed limit is 40 mph and an industrial spur from refineries on the southeast side of the line trails in from the south.

Passing through an industrial area, the line passes dual road bridges overhead, a UP line alongside to the north, many extra tracks to large shuttle-enabled grain silos on the northwest side, extra tracks on the southeast side, two bridges over things below, a wye junction at Commerce City (MP 535.2), where the speed limit has risen to 70-60, with a line southeast into Rocky Mountain Arsenal, a main street alongside to the northwest, a street alongside to the southeast, a grade crossing, extra track to the north, Ladora (MP 534.2), a grade crossing, a spur on the north side, the 7,656 ft. north side siding at Irondale (MP 531.7), a road alongside to the south, an autorack yard on the north side of the siding, a maintenance yard on the north side, a road alongside to the south, Derby, a grade crossing, Intermediate Signals at Eno (MP 529.5), a bridge over an arroyo, a road bridge overhead, a bridge over drainage, a road bridge overhead, and the 7,613 ft. north side siding at Barr (MP 524.5).

There is a road bridge overhead, a bridge over drainage, dual road bridges overhead, an angled road bridge overhead, a road bridge overhead, and a grade crossing still within the siding, a road on the north side,  a detector at MP 521.9, a grade crossing, a spur from industry trailing in on the north side, a road bridge overhead, the 7,191 ft. north side siding at Tonville (MP 518.5), extra track on the north side, a road bridge overhead within the siding, a road bridge overhead,  the 6,146 ft. north side siding at Hudson (MP 513.0), extra track serving silos on the north side, and the spurs on the southeast side of the line at Rescar (MP 512.2).

The line turns east-southeast past Intermediate Signals at Roy, an I-76 frontage road, a bridge over a stream, I-76 alongside to the north, a grade crossing, and a cutting, northeast past a grade crossing in town,  the 7,101 ft. south side siding (new signals turned sideways in April, 2012) at Keenesburg (MP 505.4), and a grade crossing within the siding, north-northeast, with the highway temporarily not alongside to the north/west past Tampa, where a branch from Sloan once trailed in from the south, a dirt track grade crossing, and east, with I-76 alongside to the north again, past the 7,048 ft. north side siding (new signals turned sideways in April, 2012) at Roggen (MP 495.7), with a grade crossing within the siding..

The mountains of the Front Range are visible on the horizon for most of this route segment. (These mountains rise anywhere from 7,000 to 9,000 feet, directly from the high plains, which are themselves at an altitude between 5,000 and 6,000 feet above sea level, in this area.) this line is in northeastern Colorado, in the arid high-plains country, where night falls on eastbound Amtrak trains and dawn breaks (somewhat further east, in the summer) on westbound Amtrak trains, in great contrast from the lush agricultural countryside in western Illinois and eastern Iowa where the westbound Amtrak trains are at nightfall, and in central or western Iowa, where dawn breaks on on-time eastbound Amtrak trains.

The line passes a bridge over a culvert at MP 494.91 and a detector at MP 494.1, just east of the east end of Roggen, as I-76 edges away to the north, a dirt road grade crossing, the 7,133 ft. south side siding at Crest (MP 489.1), where the line turns east-northeast, a dirt track grade crossing, a dirt road grade crossing, a grade crossing, a bridge over a dry river, the 6,954 ft. south side siding at Wiggins (MP 478.9), with extra track on the north side to three sets of grain silos, a road alongside to the north, and a grade crossing, where the line turns just south of east and then east again, with I-76 again alongside to the north past a through girder bridge over a dry river, a detector at MP 470.7, a road bridge overhead, a divided highway alongside to the north, the 7,820 ft. south side siding at Bijou (MP 468.5), two dirt road grade crossings within the siding, three grade crossings, a track trailing in from the north, a grade crossing, a grade crossing within the siding, and the 6,220 ft. north side siding at Fort Morgan (MP 464.3), where there is a bridge over a culvert at MP 464.83, extra track to a grain silo on the north side, and a passenger station (depot on the north side).

There is a grade crossing east of the depot, extra track to an industry on the north side, MP 464, two sets of extra track to grain silos on the north side, a grade crossing, Excel (MP 463.0), Moseley (MP 462.1), Pawnee (MP 459.0), a grade crossing, Pawnee Junction (MP 458.0), where a spur heads north to the Pawnee Power Plant on the South Platte River just to the north, a grade crossing, two dirt road grade crossings, a grade crossing, a detector at MP 456.6,West Brush (MP 456.6), where the speed limit falls to 20 mph, a bridge over irrigation, two grade crossings, the west end of the sidings, a grade crossings, four extra tracks on the north side, silos on the north side, a grade crossing, and the old depot on the north side at Brush Center (MP 450.0), where there is a 7,112 ft. siding on the south side of the line and a 7,308 ft. siding on the north side, two more grain silos on the north side, and the coal line to Sterling and Alliance turns away to the northeast while the passenger line continues east.